Essays on Current SDA Prophetic Hermeneutics and Interpretations

Written by Frank A. Basten, Australian

[Please note: with the transfer of pages to pdf, I have created a stack of 404s with the links embedded in the pdfs, looking for a html page, when there is a pdf page now. Please bear with me while I correct this shortly when I get some time.]


Below is a list of some past papers I have written regarding the published Seventh-day Adventist approach to the method of interpreting the prophetic time period in the books of Daniel and Revelation.  These documents are posted here for anyone interested in taking another look at the reasons offered by both SDA pioneers and contemporary scholars within the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the prophecies touted by them as providing the raison d’être for the SDA church.


In a sentence, these papers argue that the rationale of SDA historicists on the relationship between the 2300 days in Dn8:14 and the 70 weeks in Dn9:24 involves the intricate interdependence of multiple invalid assumptions, with each being used to give validity to the others in a chain of cumulative interdependence.  The documents listed below reveal what these assumptions are and how they are invalid.  I show how they cannot be supported by Scripture, and the weight of evidence will persuade the honest student to discard the SDA historicists’ argumentation on the topic, and embrace the implications of such an action.


Dr W. Hales said, concerning the peculiar SDA church explanation of the time periods in Daniel 8 and 9, “if the connection between the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 and the 2300 days of Daniel 8 does not exist, the whole system is shaken to its foundation…” Harmony of Bible Chronology, p.33. (This quote appears ubiquitously in pioneer SDA writings)

I must warn readers that the articles on this site are not bedside reading. They are intensive, because they attempt to meet the arguments being published at the level they are presented in the Daniel and Revelation Committee series of books [DARCOM] on the topic. Dr. Raymond Cottrell says of the DARCOM series of books, “most of its 1600 pages are devoted to scholarly analyses of the text of Daniel that only a trained Bible scholar would be able to evaluate.”  I have tried to be as easy to understand as possible, but at times it gets technical. I apologise in advance.

I also appreciate that many of the readers of these pages do not have access to the resources quoted, so I have included the relevant quotes in the papers as much as possible. That way you can instantly check the correctness of my point, and for the most part, you do not have to chase up the references to see what I am referring to.

I also appreciate the fact that not all SDAs believe in the historicist interpretation of prophecy, and so I try to support this view, by referring to “SDA historicists” rather than “SDAs.” Where that has not been done, please take it as assumed. 

Check out the website diary for the state of each paper; Whether new updates are coming soon; and where I am working at present.

Except for American quotations, all spelling is in Australian English.  The files were written and formatted in Microsoft Word 2000. It is better to save the web page to a folder, and open them in Word to get a better print format. You will find parts of them still needing editing. They are an ongoing project and I touch them up as I have the time. If there is anyone who feels that a copyright has been infringed upon, please contact me. 


To contact me, use the following email address.. Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: C:\Documents and Settings\My Documents\Website\Index.1.gif 


ABSTRACT -(please read this first)

SUMMARY PAPER (You need to read this, before you start on my papers, to understand my approach)











ASSUMPTION 9: THE TIME OF THE END BEGAN IN 1798 AD.  (Be patient, it is a big file)

















ASSUMPTION 24 “2300 EVENING MORNING” MEANS 2300 DAYS project yet to start



Revelation 3:10-the Death-knell of SDA Historicism






I have dug these papers out of a box after putting them away around 1990.  I wrote these initially in the decade that the Daniel and Revelation Committee Series were publishing their books on these issues. As an undergraduate university student at the time, I was disgusted and angry that these men could use their position of influence to publish material that would not survive the scrutiny of undergraduates like myself let alone the scrutiny of their peers.  When I first read the articles by Shea and Hasel on the 2300-days and the 70-weeks in the book “The Sanctuary and the Atonement,” my first thought was that they had written these articles with ‘tongue-in-cheek.’  I could not believe that this was a serious contribution (let alone progress) in Adventist apologetics.  I just assumed they were ‘working papers’ and nothing more.  I waited for some more substantial material on these two time periods in the second and third volume of the DARCOM series but none was forthcoming.  I have had to assume that the papers by these two men were to be treated as a serious contribution, and not working papers after all.  The leaders were prepared to send out to the world of Seventh-day Adventists with the endorsement of the church, research papers that history will, on the whole, judge harshly.[1]  Yet, the church’s official magazines lauded these tomes. It was presented to the church as the best that the church could offer on the topics.[2]  They are still lauded today in scholarly Adventist circles.[3]  Goldstein calls this material “their best defense”; or “the church’s best defences of the teaching.”  (2003, pp. 18, 104,)  In my mind, what was even worse was the fact that those scholars in the SDA church who disagreed with the publication of these papers from the BRI were not prepared to put pen to paper and put down such awful scholarship as would be done in any other scholarly discipline.  They were not prepared to take on such a risky endeavour.  The bottom line was that if they were prepared to express publicly what they confessed privately, they would have had to start thinking of alternate employment–not an easy task for a man of the cloth, especially given the average age of those involved and the specialisation of their skills.  The truth be told, this was probably the main reason this poor scholarship was not dealt with expedition by scholars of erudition in the SDA church. Edmund Burke said, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I would paraphrase that and say, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of crooked thinking is for straight-thinkers to keep quiet.”


Anyway, I decided to focus my disgust into a more constructive exercise by examining and addressing the arguments used to defend the relationship between 2300 days and the 70 weeks so desperately defended by the likes of Shea and Hasel.  For me, this was a constructive way to deal with my disgust at the tactics being exercised at the highest level of scholarship in the church. By approaching it in this manner, I could deal with it, put the document away, and get on with my life.  I saw their publishing of such awful material as a betrayal of trust.   SDA scholarship had, for me, lost its innocence.[4]  The SDA church seemed so desperate to defend its position that it was prepared to endorse highly-questionable reasoning, to put it in the mildest manner.  SDA scholarship would for me, never be the same again.  As never before, it was seen to be a conclusion looking for argumentation to defend it.  In the words of Ellen White’s evaluation on the Jesuit movement, “The end justified the means.” (1950, p. 235)


In 1988, after having watched the church throughout the decade turn out repeated articles on their intolerance toward a hermeneutic that allows conditionality in apocalyptic prophecy, I realised that the course they were taking was more decided when compared to the tolerance over difference in opinion that had existed in the decades previous. I sensed that the church would only take a more definite position on this and related issues in the years to come. I was one of those members academics in the BRI did not desire in the church, especially with my developing position on conditionality in apocalyptic. For me, I sensed a parting of the ways with the SDA church. Since I believed that the articles by Ford, Cottrell, Neufeld and articles in the SDA Bible Commentary supporting the conditionality of apocalyptic prophecy were closer to the truth of the matter than what the current literature was trying to persuade us to believe, I thought it best to withdraw myself from the church, leaving it to go about its business without members being irritated with my conflicting ideas.


When I resigned my membership there was no debate, no dissension. It was a private matter. I merely stated in my letter of resignation that I was at variance with the SDA church’s Fundamental Beliefs. I never divulged the reason behind my resignation. I fellowshipped at the church for some years after. I did not share this research with anyone. That attitude has changed now, firstly, because there are so many voices pointing out the errors, one more would not significantly change the weight of evidence against the SDA position on the 2300 days and the 70 weeks and secondly, because I’m feeling the pressure of age, and would like to share my thoughts with others while there is time.


When I finished the research, I decided I would let it sit on the “back-burner” and allow time to mature my thinking.  I made a decision with myself at that time to look at the documents if I was still alive at 50 and then decide whether they had any lasting value.[5]  I thought then that looking at the research when I was older would not hinder the value of the papers.  The issue was not going to go away in my lifetime. 


I had been working on the research as a hobby during the 1980s.  From 1981- 1985 I was just doing a lot of reading and preparing the basis of my research.  During this time I was trying to get to the bottom of the complicated system of assumptions to work out how it operated; how many there were; and what relation each one had to the others.[6]  From 1985 to 1990 I wrote the bulk of the papers.   The papers were not completely finished at the time.  The essential arguments were there but not finally completed to either publishing standard or for the readership of a wider audience.  For me, the original exercise of writing these papers was a private cathartic one.  My motive was to clarify and determine for myself alone whether there was any substance in my apprehension towards the traditional position of the SDA church, or whether I needed to change my views and embrace the “evidence” pouring out from the SDA Biblical Research Institute.  Consequently, being private writings, their format was not ready for a project like this.  Any reader glancing through the papers in their unedited state could ascertain this. Some parts were still in my head but not committed to paper. Everything was achieved as far as my own satisfaction was concerned.  I was satisfied I had dealt with the matter honestly and open-mindedly.  I had made some startling discoveries during the research I was not expecting.  Nearly all of these discoveries confirmed my position to be the correct one.  Some positions used to strengthen by argumentation were found to be invalid, and they were discarded.  I can honestly say that I was ruthlessly open-minded in carrying out this project.  Even now, I continually play the devil’s advocate with myself endeavouring to overthrow my own arguments in these papers but have been unsuccessful.  Try as I may, they stand firm.


I had no idea that the evidence I would gather would present such a fatal blow to the historicist’s school of interpretation.  But that has been the outcome.  Their faulty logic has been exposed as never before.  There is no disciplined objectivity to their argumentation.  It is an introverted, subjective exegesis incapable of surviving the application of any standards that can be used to independently verify assertions.  It would not stand up to rigours of close inspection if their schema were to be submitted for peer review into the general Christian scholarly world.  It is replete with invalid assumptions.  My papers identify these.  In the words of Cottrell, it may have been present truth back in the early nineteenth century, but it is definitely not present truth now. REF?  It is a relic from the millennial fervour of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries that finally needs to be put to rest. [7]  Bible truth does not stand on such an invalid foundation of ideas as the papers on this site bring to light.


I believe my papers present arguments that SDA historicists will try and bury just as they have done to other authors before me, but those that have open minds will see the validity of my arguments and agree that, like old shoes, SDA historicism in its present state, has to be discarded as being no longer able to present the truth in Daniel and Revelation.  SDA historicism is a dinosaur and is unscriptural. In no way is it the primary interpretation of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.


As an illustration on the relativity of the value of what the SDA had taught on this topic, it is instructive to read the accounts of a camp meeting in Sept, 1842 when Josiah Litch presented his arguments for the prophecy fulfillment from the book of Revelation concerning Turkey. [8] The Holy Spirit was mightily at work.  In the words of Joseph Bates, “The preaching was so clear, and accompanied with so much power of the Holy Spirit, that it seemed like sin to doubt.” In some cases, people had to be dismissed from the meeting three or four times before they could focus on standing up and walking out of the tent after prayer. The presentation of the information was with power and the Spirit.” That was the record Bates made of the occasion.  In his view, the Holy Spirit gave a strong endorsement of Litch’s interpretation of Turkey in prophecy.  But would the Holy Spirit endorse those erroneous teachings today?  Is there any scholar today who is prepared to risk his reputation by putting his name to an article on the fulfillment of prophecy by Turkey and publishing it in a widely circulated non-Adventist religious research journal?  What may have been present truth then is not present truth now.  The time for the internment of the historicist dinosaur has come.


This project healed my anger towards the tactics used by world headquarters to quell a challenge toward the traditional method of interpreting these time periods. I gained a confidence that my original position was correct.  By 1990 it was, for me, time to move on.  So the papers were boxed up and put away for a decade and a bit.  My life during the 1990s was none the poorer for leaving the 2300 days out of my thinking.  It is unnecessary in the thinking of a Christian.  It exists only to justify the existence of an institution – the SDA church.  These prophecies have no real power in everyday Christian living.  For the SDA church, their dogmatic defense of this time prophecy is because it represents a significant part of the institutional world-view – their attempt to make some sense of their own history.  This exercise is a perennial activity of any group or culture.[9]  But the 2300 days is nonessential for Christian living, or even for Seventh-day Adventist living.[10] 


Picking up my research again in 2000 without any contact with the current events and thinking in-between time in SDA-land, and examining the church literature has confirmed my assessment back in the 1980s – intolerance towards conditionality in apocalyptic prophecy is in its high noon.  Having recently read yet another defense of the Adventist prophetic landmarks written by Clifford Goldstein, the celebration of the “research” produced by the DARCOM series continues ad nauseum.[11]  Goldstein comments on the weaknesses of the writings of one dissident – a Dale Ratzlaff:


“An incredible amount of scholarly work has been invested in answering arguments brought against the pre-advent judgment….the seven volumes of the Daniel and Revelation Committee Series, composed of almost 2,000 pages by dozens of our best theologians, all written to deal either directly or indirectly with the common charges made against the investigative judgment…Brother Ratzlaff knew about the books but chose to ignore the arguments in them – arguments that would (I contend) debunk his thesis regarding the pre-Advent judgment.

if he would have confronted some of those books, or at least the sections that deal with the charges he makes, and then sought to rebut them, point by point…- that approach, if nothing else, would have been more credible than merely listing a string of arguments against the judgment while ignoring their best defense.” (2002, p.18)


And further in his book he asserts:


The thought keeps going through my mind: Is this the best the critics can do – simply reviving the same old charges against it, charges that have been more than answered?  In all sincerity, I have to say that the continued weakness and shallowness of the same attacks, as well as the entrenched refusal of our critics to confront the Daniel and Revelation Committee books, continues to affirm my belief in the truth of the 1844 pre-advent judgment. (Ibid, 112)


Again, in a review of Dr Des Ford’s publication For the Sake of the Gospel, Goldstein takes up the same argument again:

Now, one would think that someone challenging the church on these theological issues would address the church’s official and best response to those theological issues, wouldn’t one? And yet, over the years, all Ford has ever done is mock the books without ever seriously addressing the answers they present. Only one time, on the 457 B.C. date, did I ever read where Ford tackled a position in the books, and here—after all sort of polemics against 457 B.C.--he pretty much came out and admitted that the date he accepts is 458 B.C. (a difference of only six months!).

I mean, come on, folks! If the Daniel and Revelation Committee series is as bad as Dr. Ford always touts, then why not deal with their best arguments head on? Refute the lousy theology he insists is in there! Instead, he takes pot shots at the books and then continues pushing the same worn out and largely discredited arguments that he’s been deceiving himself and others with for decades now—arguments that have been in many cases refuted by the series that he openly refuses to tackle head on!

In his new book, I looked specifically at the references on his chapter dealing with the much-maligned and perfidious day-year principle, which Dr. Ford has long been challenging. And not a single reference (in fact there were no references at the end of the chapter) to Dr. William Shea’s paper in volume one of the Daniel and Revelation Committee Series, “Year-Day Principle, Part One”—arguably the church’s best scholarly defense of the day-year principle. One would think, wouldn’t one, that anyone trying to disprove a teaching of the church would go after the church’s best defense of it.

Clearly something needs to be said about the actual content in the DARCOM series.  It seems that there are few voices explicating the weaknesses of these volumes.  Apart from Mazzaferri, I have not been able to find a SDA scholar’s publication who disagrees with these papers and has considered it worth the effort to debunk the material they find objectionable.[12]  Are they all quite happy to see such a publication go unchallenged and unimproved?  Or do all SDA scholars (even those retired) also laud the DARCOM series?   If one is to judge by the absence of publications against the DARCOM series, then that would be the conclusion to be drawn, and that would be the line of argument taken by members like Goldstein.  But I am convinced that the errors I have seen in these volumes would have been seen by more astute minds than mine, yet they have chosen to be quiet on the topic.  Perhaps better papers than these are sitting in filing cabinets kept from an eager audience until the authors retire.  Perhaps they have decided that the topic is not really important enough to contribute to the debate or to risk what little time of their denominational working career they have left.  From the absence of any complaint of substance, one can only assume that no-one has complaint with the DARCOM series. Be that as it may, I submit these papers to those interested in the topic for consideration.  And although I have limited my discussion to the relationship between the two time periods in Dn8 and Dn9, readers will understand that if my arguments are solid, then most of the other material in the DARCOM series defending the doctrines of the heavenly sanctuary, investigative judgment etc is automatically defunct also.


I decided, in 2000, after looking through the papers, to get in contact with some Adventist scholar who was open-minded about these things and find out whether my work had any merit in doing something further with it. I was not sure at this stage just what I had in mind.  After some inquiries, I found a retired SDA scholar who was pepared to look at my work. After reading the material in the state it was, he encouraged me to develop it and post it on the Net so that it could be available to the church folk at large.  I accepted that counsel as indicative of something of value in the ideas presented in the papers. I have posted these papers on the Net to force myself to finish them quicker than I would have otherwise.  I lack the motivation to put the finishing touches to the papers, since they were only done initially as a private matter.  By posting them on the Net, the poor editorial state of the papers is exposed to all and sundry and this coaxes me to keep at the task.  For me, it is just a case of pride of workmanship– of getting the papers to some basic level of readability that I am happy with.  I do not mind if folk visit here.  It is basically a personal challenge to finish what I started before I either “kick the bucket,” or get Alzheimer’s disease and my brain becomes useless.  I made a promise to myself to finish the work and hopefully, I will keep myself at the task until it is done.  There are comments to myself embedded within the papers, and there are places where I have posted contradictory information because I am still arguing with myself over the correctness of a point.  In other places I criticise myself and offer comments to improve, but have not got around to finishing that point.  This is all quite unorthodox, and one would expect this process to be completed before the document is posted.  I apologise for this, but this is the only way I know to keep me at the task, knowing that others may be noticing all the problems in the papers.  It works, since I have been punching at this thing endlessly since I first posted it on the net; something I would not have done if it were just written privately.


I have a realistically pessimistic view of the reception of these papers by the target audience. The questions dealt with in these papers cover matters that cut to the very raison d’être for the SDA church. The SDA explanation for the 2300 days and the 70 weeks cannot be altered without the church changing its self-understanding. That will not happen. The institution is far too mature for any change, especially in these matters and, in any case, it does not see any need for it.  These papers are published merely as a different opinion on the topic.  I have moved on from this project, but would like to give others the chance to assess the research and take it further than I can. I am not a scholar. I am not an academic. I do not profess to have the ability to answer all the questions I raise.[13] But the questions need to be raised in order to see the need to look for an answer. I am sure that administrators prefer for questions not to be raised when there are not, as yet, any answers. “It unsettles the people.”  From an administrative point of view, it is far better to ask the questions only when you have the answers.


It should be said however, that these papers are polemic, and for the untrained reader, it may seem that I am negative towards the SDA church. That is not the case. I have many friends in the SDA church; indeed, many of the names on the current register of ministers in Australia I have been acquainted with from my year at Avondale College in 1980.  Having  been baptised into the church in my early twenties, I have spent my young adulthood as a member of the church and I consider the SDA church is as good an environment to worship and raise a family as any other church.  I consider myself a SDA still, yet without the official paperwork, and certainly without a belief in the prophetic principles considered orthodox for a SDA. [14]  On the other hand for me, by going the next step and publishing the documents, there may be someone who has dealt with the same arguments that I propose here and who has been able to find an explanation which solves all these difficulties to their satisfaction and still keep the traditional SDA position on the relationship between these two time prophecies. It would be interesting to see how others would answer the matters raised on this site.  Are the things fervently held by the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist church, rooted firmer in the Word than the questions I raise? Document your strong reasonings, but make them honest and open, and not of the closed myopic type so characteristic of so many defences for this topic. Any persuasive argumentation will avoid using the assumptions listed above, unless you can establish that that assumption is valid. I have not been able to do that. Maybe you can.


I would enthusiastically discourage any attempt to use the arguments presented on this site to “browbeat” someone who does not share the same point of view as I present here. To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. Give people room to think and enjoy their belief.  Our stay on this planet is far too short to destroy someone’s faith.  If the papers on this site are true, then time will confirm it and will lead others to open up the topic further than I can and take the study further towards the full light of understanding. If they are false, they will not build up and will eventually die for lack of attention.  God is greater than us and is not dependent upon us for the advancement of His truth.  Let Him do His thing in His time. On this site, I merely focus on the academic issues and address those. I am not addressing the people of the SDA church. Untrained minds unconversant with the skill of being able to debate such sensitive issues as the ones in these papers and yet still have a positive attitude to the adherents of the opposite side of the debate should not read my writings.  Grow mature, and develop your soul in Christ for many years before reading these things.  The issues will still be debated in the future, because the unresolved problems will surface again, probably many a time. Denial will not make the questions disappear. Time will only crystallise the issues into a harder challenge to answer. Come back to the topic in a decade or two. Let yourself grow mature in Christ.


To those who can endorse my writings I say, do not take issue with the church; let it go about its mission.  There is undeniable evidence that God works in and through the SDA church.  There is also undeniable evidence that God works in and through Christians in other churches.[15]  To decide that you are going to challenge the beliefs of the church is foolish and unfruitful.  In the end, it will only be you who will suffer.  If you can live with your beliefs and remain within the SDA family, then go for it.  If you find it too hard to restrain your comments on this doctrine in your church fellowship, then it may be time to think about worshipping somewhere else.  There is Christianity beyond the walls of Adventism.  My walk with God is none the poorer for being a “non-Adventist.” 


It has constantly amazed me that so many people give up God and Jesus when they leave the Seventh-day Adventist church.[16]  Some use the issue of conflict as the reason to abandon their faith in God.  Though someone has been cut to the core by the injustices and prejudices revealed in their ostracism, they should look to God as their supporter for a new chapter in their life.  Many confuse faith in the Seventh-day Adventist Church with faith in Christ!! And especially those in the church.  You will find people making remarks and judgments if they discover you have pulled the pin on your church membership, to the effect that your salvation is in jeopardy.  Watch out for it.  It reveals the truth that some members either equate SDA church membership with salvation, or that a rejection of your membership in the church is a rejection of them.[17]  This is not the position of the SDA church, but it is a belief with some members.  Their assumption is that one cannot be in good spiritual health and withdraw membership from the SDA church.  The myth is that only spiritually defective people leave the Adventist church. This is a very persistent belief. That the church itself is the stumbling stone is not (or better cannot be) entertained.  But ultimately, the bottom line for those who forsake Christ when they leave the church is that they are not anchored in Christ.  Their focus is on the conflict, the meetings, the building, the religious club, etc., rather than the Cause of those buildings, those religious clubs, those meetings. 


There is absolutely no need to turn your back on Christ if you find it uncomfortable in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  God was with the patriarchs in their wanderings through a strange and foreign land.  They sought his presence and He was there to re-assure them at every stage of their life.  He can still be there with you too as you step out into the “strange and foreign land” beyond the walls of Adventism.  What makes you think that you are any less than the patriarchs?  God is no respecter of persons.  You are just as valuable to Him as any of the patriarchs were.  God would have sent his Son just to save you. Before you realise it, your time on this earth, however long or short, is going to be over and your voice will be silent and you will lie motionless in the grave.  In the little time remaining in your life, He is totally keen for you to continue your walk with Him as His child – a walk that only begins here but then, beyond this life, goes on forever.  Don’t limit him.  He knows the very path on which he can lead you, wherever you are in your spiritual walk, to a place beside Him forever.  He has known it long before you were even born (Read Psalm 139).  God is not confined to a building or a church.  I have spent as much quality time sitting in a Catholic Cathedral meditating and praying at various times in my life, as I have ever done in an Adventist church. The Holy Spirit is just as powerful, and the angels just as near, regardless of what “religious club” you attend.  God still rules the universe!! He can still work within the affairs of men!!  He can visit you in any religious building!  Find a worship family that you feel at home with, and honour God with your praise while you still have the privilege of drawing breath and appreciating another new day begin.  May God give you a gracious mind and a benevolent spirit!  May you feel Him beside you as you study these matters!  May the Bible become a new book for you and may you see old problems in a new light!


If the arguments I propose in these papers are recognised as valid, how then do I interpret the prophecies of Daniel, one may ask?  What solution do I propose as to the interpretation of these time prophecies?  I have tried to refrain from explicating my views on the solution to the interpretation of the prophecies of Daniel for a specific purpose.  There are two steps in re-evaluating this issue: the first one is to acknowledge valid arguments and incorporate a correction to the thinking on the topic; the second is to look at the solution.  These are separate stages and need to be approached separately.  I am developing my views as to a solution of these prophecies but I have deliberately refrained from including them as much as possible, except where it was an integral part of the argumentation.  I wish for others to follow the same steps as I have done.  The first step is to see the invalid arguments in the SDA position.  This can be done without having at hand an alternate solution.  Crooked thinking is crooked thinking.  It can be seen as such without a substitutional proposition.  The seeking of a solution comes after the crooked thinking is discarded.  There is a time-sequential process to this that takes years to work through.  There are many, many things to unlearn.  When that is done, an alternate solution can then be sought.


I do not want people to use my early attempts at a solution to the interpretation of the prophecies as a reason to dismiss my critique of the traditional explanation of the relation between the 2300 days and the seventy-week prophecies.  I understand there will be SDA writers who will try and deflect criticism away from established argumentation.  They want to justify a reason to keep the traditional argumentation.  If they can find a weakness in my solution, then they will focus on that with the purpose of undermining the strength of the criticisms listed in these papers.  And in highlighting any weakness in my solution, they will obscure the errors in the traditional argumentation.  I intend to minimise that deflection by limiting the information on my understanding to the solution to the problem.  I want the full weight of the argumentation present in these papers to carry the day and make the impression they need to make.  Others can propose solutions.  I have read in SDA literature somewhere that criticism against the traditional position of the SDA church on this topic, however valid, will not stand unless an adequate solution is proposed in its place.   This is ridiculous.  If an argument is invalid, it is invalid.  It can be assessed for its own merits, and judged immediately.  To be sure, it is in the dismissal of invalid arguments and the forsaking of them that a valid argument is often found some time later.  So it is with these papers.  The first step is to acknowledge the validity of my arguments if they are correct.  Once that has been done fully, and incorporated into the thinking, then one can begin to re-evaluate the text from this new perspective.  Not until this process of dismissing the old ways out of the thinking and assimilating the arguments in these papers into the thinking, can the new ways and solutions be sought and found.  The acceptance of the arguments in these papers will bring one back to the beginning.  The book of Daniel (and Revelation too) will have to be reread and restudied, as a new book, with old theories and understanding thrown out the window.  I understand that the SDA church will lambast this. They will say that the views of the pioneers, the DARCOM series, and Ellen White are the basis for establishing research and are not to be cast aside under any pretext.  But notwithstanding, all will need to be pared back and the book looked at anew without the historicist’s baggage hanging around to hinder. This is a process that could take decades, but it needs to be done.  A solution worked and reworked by a multitude of minds forged in the crucible of constructive open criticism will be the solution that will endure. 


That being said, I can say that my solution will incorporate the following conclusions gleaned from this collection of papers:

1.    The question of Dn8:13 and the 2300 days addresses the activities of the little horn in Dn8:10-12.

2.    The starting point for the 2300 days is given in Dn8.

3.    The year-day principle does not apply in Dn7-12.

4.    The seventy weeks begins with the decree to restore Jerusalem, but it is the starting point for the seventy weeks only.

5.    The seventy-week prophecy is a conditional prophecy and some of the events connected with it that are “people-initiated” are also conditional.  This includes all the activities related to the persecution of the people of God by the little horn of Dn8 and the time period involved.  The events related to the rebuilding of the city and coming of the Messiah are not conditional – they are “God-initiated.”

6.    The end of the seventy weeks would signal the end of the kingdoms of this world and the beginning of the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus also endorsed this position when he placed his second coming soon after the abomination of desolation infiltrating the holy place.  That this did not occur as foretold by Daniel or Jesus merely indicates the conditional nature of the prophecy. 

7.    Dn7-12 assumes the faithfulness of Israel at large, though some do become unfaithful.  Dn9:26-27 assumes the faithfulness of Israel.  The failure of Israel due to unfaithfulness or legalism is not envisaged in these prophecies.

8.    There are aspects of Dn7-12 that will never be fulfilled since these parts were conditional prophecies, and the way history panned out is not the way it was predicted in these prophecies. Thus, these parts are as redundant as the rest of the parts of the classical prophets, who predicted a future based on the faithfulness of Israel.  The 1260-, 1290-, 1335- and the 2300-day prophecy would have all started at the time the Messiah would have been murdered, the sanctuary desecrated, and the daily sacrifice abolished.  These events would have occurred in the same invasion by the little horn power, in the midst of the seventieth week and would have extended till the end of the seventy weeks.  These time periods were directly related to the geographical and chronological confines of the eschaton described by the book of Daniel.  These events failed to materialise, and so the time periods related to those events also became defunct.

9.    The Revelator’s reworking of the events described in Dn9:26, 27 in his remodelling of the final panorama of history, clearly indicates that Jesus’ application of Dn9:26, 27 to the destruction of Jerusalem did not occur as He predicted, and that these events were still future. For the early church, the book of Daniel and the statements of Jesus concerning the end, were, as far as a guide for end time events, almost useless.[18]  It was decades after the destruction of Jerusalem and the end still had not occurred as Jesus had predicted.  They needed another guide, something that addressed their situation.   Hence the reason God composed the Apocalypse.  It is not a compendium to the book of Daniel.  The early church was to only use the book of Revelation as their guide.  And the warning in Revelation 22 not to add anything to that revelation, (including the book of Daniel), still stands today.  The book of Revelation has everything a Christian needs from the book of Daniel.  It has the applicable kingdoms, events and time periods.  God himself has chosen what to take from Daniel and what to leave behind.[19]  The rest of the material in the book of Daniel is to be bundled with those prophecies of the Old Testament that will never see fulfillment.  Edifying though they be, they are no longer operational.  They are relics.

10. The book of Revelation indicates that the only period in the book of Daniel to be kept into the current eschatological model is the 1260 days.  As far as the book of Revelation is concerned, the early church, who were to see the advent of Christ in their day (see my paper on Revelation 3:10), need not be concerned with either the 2300-, 1290- or 1335-day prophecies from the book of Daniel.  That the 1260-day period was repeated in the Apocalypse more than once in a variety of ways indicates that, if need be, the other time periods of Daniel could have been discussed if they applied.  The Composer of the Apocalypse also included time periods not mentioned in any other inspired writing before.  These two facts show us that if need be, the 1290-, 1335-, and 2300 days of Daniel could have been mentioned as well.  However, they were not recommended to those believers who were about to enter the eschatological time of trouble and see the final stages of this world’s history.  I believe this was because those periods were defunct.  The early church understood the message of the 1260-days properly.  They correctly looked for the 3½ years of the reign of the Antichrist. This was done for many centuries.  They did not apply any year-day principle to this period.[20]  And this period is still to be correctly understood today as the early church saw it – a 3½-year period.  Time has not eroded the validity of that position.  It will occur when the events begin. The proper application of this period is still future.


This point should be repeated again: The book of Revelation–and in particular ch.3:10–refers to the second coming as possible in the days of the original readers.  The book of Revelation has dozens of items extracted directly from the Book of Daniel. The allusions to the book of Daniel in the Apocalypse number in the hundreds. If the 2300-, 1290-, 1335-day period applied to believers before the Second Advent, then they should have been informed of this in the book of Revelation.  These periods would have been included to, as was the 1260-day period.  They were not. Therefore, as far as the author of Revelation is concerned (God Himself, Rev1:1) they did not need them.  They were given all the time periods needed to be prepared for what lay ahead.  They were even given time periods not mentioned in either the book of Daniel or the whole Old Testament for that matter.  The 1290-, 1355 days-, and the 2300-evening-morning periods of Daniel were not on the list to be given to the fledgling church. 

11. In considering these points, the current interpretation of the SDA church on the books of Daniel and Revelation cannot be argued as the original intent of the message in these books. 

12. If the book of Revelation was able to be fulfilled in the times of the apostolic church, then it can also be fulfilled today by the same principle, being fulfilled in the same way.  Since the SDA historicist’s interpretation cannot admit this possibility, their interpretation is out of sync with the original intent of the text, and cannot be acknowledged as being correct. 

13. These positions endorse neither the preterist view, the futurist view, nor the historicist’s view on these matters. Instead, I am of the persuasion that another paradigm is essential to properly explain the phenomena – the conditionalist view, which sees the possibility of the events being consummated in the past, but indeed the certainty of them being fulfilled in the future, in exactly the same manner as it was presented to the early church.  This conditionalist view is not an amalgamation of all views, but rather has its own unique parameters.  This view has had parts of it published by various authors, but a comprehensive presentation of this paradigm is yet to be written.

In closing, I would like to invite readers to consider an appeal concerning the concept of conditionality in relation to the second coming of Jesus in the first century AD from Don Neufeld, who was editor of the Adventist Review, and also one of the editors of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary series:

“To me, the conditional element Ellen White applies to prophecy supplies the simplest solution to the problem of Matt.24:34, one that is fair to the Biblical text.  I know that people have proposed other solutions, all of which to my mind present certain problems.  I suggest that those who have not previously considered the conditional element at least give it consideration.”[21]


Bates, Joseph,

1868                The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates Battle Creek, Mich.: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association. Facsimile Reproduction, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tennessee, 1970.

Damsteegt, P Gerard,

1977                         Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Ford, Desmond,

1980                         Daniel 8:14: The Day of Atonement and the Investigative Judgment. Casselberry, Florida: Evangelion Press.

Froom, LeRoy E.,

1946                         The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, Volume I. Early Church Exposition, Subsequent Deflections, and Medieval Revival, Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

1948                         The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation, Volume II, Pre-Reformation and Reformation Restoration, and Second Departure, Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

1950                         The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, Volume III, Part. 1: Colonial and Early National American Exposition, Part. 2: Old World Nineteenth Century Advent Awakening, Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

1954                         The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, Volume IV, New World Recovery and Consummation of Prophetic Interpretation. , Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

Goldstein, Clifford,

2003                         Graffiti in the Holy of Holies, an impassioned response to recent attacks on the sanctuary and Ellen White, Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association.

Knight, George R.,

2000                   A Search for Identity: The Development of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs, Hagerstown, Maryland, USA: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

2004                   A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists, 2nd Edition, Hagerstown, Maryland, USA: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

Mazzaferri, Fred,

2003                         As In a Mirror, e-book available from


Wallenkampf, A.V., and Lesher , W.R. (Eds.),

1981                         The Sanctuary and the Atonement: Biblical, Historical, and Theological Studies, Prepared by the Biblical Research Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1981.

White, Ellen G.,

1950 (1888)              The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan The Conflict of the Ages in the Christian Dispensation, Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association.


[1] I speak mainly here of the articles in the series relating directly to the time prophecies of Daniel by Drs. Shea and Hasel.


[2] Articles in the church’s magazines such as “The Ministry” etc announced the progress of the BRI committee meetings as they occurred for the new editions and then run articles on them when they were released.

[3] Note Goldstein, 2002, p.18.

[4] Dr Edwin Thiele asserts in 1943 the very sentiments I have against the material produced in DARCOM: “...we cannot afford to jeopardize our position on this highly important doctrine by going officially on record as holding views which we cannot maintain...It is hardly the course of wisdom to unnecessarily put into the hands of our opponents material which may prove to be a most potent weapon against us. Our ministry should in our official church organ be supplied only with such material as is altogether solid and firm, and which cannot be undermined.  I do not believe this material should prove to be sound.” (Letter to Members of the Advent Research Committee, August 6, 1943, quoted in Ford, 1980, p.A-91)

[5] I was in my mid-30s at the time.

[6]  Ford lists another set of assumptions related to 1844.  His list is found on p. 291-293. of his Glacier View manuscript.

[7] George R. Knight highlights the importance of the Second Advent message in the times of Miller: “The Millerite’s preaching that Christ would return about the year 1843 directly contradicted the generally accepted Protestant teaching that Christ would come after the millennium.”  (2004, p.19)

[8] See Joseph Bates, Autobiography, pp. 264). I am trusting the account of the incident by Bates to be accurate, as his writings tend to be.


[9] See sociologists Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckman’s book, “The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Anchor Books. (See for a copy). An important read for any Seventh-day Adventist.  As an example on this notice Damsteegt’s statement, “one of the most important problems which confronted Adventists after October, 1844, was how to evaluate and interpret the Seventh Month movement and the Disappointment.” (1977, p.134)


[10] The seventy weeks on the other hand, are a wonderful testimony to the validity of God’s patience and longsuffering.


[11] Goldstein, 2002.

[12] See Mazzaferri, As in a Mirror, 2003

[13] I apologise to those scholars who are accustomed to material that has a trained polished touch of a professional in his field.  I have not been able to reach this standard, as I see my work.  I write in a colloquial manner and the slabs of quotes are there for a purpose, both styles of which are avoided as good practice in scholarly writings.  But I am not writing for scholars, so this style needs to be tolerated.  Look past the imperfections of presentation and study the kernel of the papers.

[14] For those SDAs who judge a person’s spirituality by their attitude to the Sabbath, I believe the Sabbath is God’s gift to mankind and properly used, can be a foretaste of the “rest that is to come” when we will walk this earth made new in the knowledge that God has told us personally we will live to enjoy the new earth as long as he rules the universe and as long as Jesus is our righteousness.


[15] If God can use rocks and stones to proclaim His name, how much more one of these Christians!!


[16] There is an important sociological reason for this. It is directly related to the frame of mind built up in the mind of an Adventist and perpetuated by pen and pulpit.   It is connected with the idea that Adventism is the pinnacle of God’s work on earth today.  The SDABC refers to the SDA beliefs as the “perfection” of doctrine, as the culmination toward which all history was moving.  It is not too hard to find copious samples of this in the church’s publications. This places all other Protestant Christian groups in an inferior basket.  It is difficult for an Adventist with this spiritual pride inculcated in their brain since youth, to feel comfortable in an “inferior” congregation.  This is one reason why people who leave the SDA church find it so hard to find another spiritual home.  Their prejudices have been soiled by such an arrogant unhealthy “better than thou” culture, and is hard to be rid of it and feel at home in another confession.  But God is in those other confessions too. And there are Christians who have as deep a walk with God as the saintliest of souls you have encountered in the Adventist Church.  SDAs having a monopoly on God’s frontline efforts in this world???? Not a chance!! He is working anywhere and everywhere, with or without Christian influence.  “Who can tell which way the Spirit moves?” Jn3.


[17] The church does not help overcome this illusion in that a baptism into Christ is usually only performed by an ordained minister. And that baptism into Christ is also made the entry into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  (Read the baptismal vow.) The two can be easily confused. And concerning the baptism by ordained ministers, the ordinary lay person is not, at least, in Australia, encouraged to be the person performing the baptism. Yet Matt28:19,20 is quoted as applying to all the members of the church.  Yet, in the church's view, the "baptising" command does not apply to ordinary members.

[18] Whether they had access to the gospel records of Matthew, Mark and Luke is also another issue of import. 

[19] Adventist commentators have documented the numerous allusions to the book of Daniel in the Apocalypse.

[20] This is confirmed by the sources quoted in The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, Froom (1946-1954)

[21] Review, April 5, 1979, “This Generation Shall Not Pass,” by Don Neufeld.  This article is also found in Ford’s Glacier View manuscript (1980, pp.85-87).  I remember the impact this article had on my mind when this issue of the Review arrived.  It was like a bolt of lightning from heaven.  So much of what I was pondering fell into place.  And when I later heard the tapes of “the Forum” meeting where Des Ford publicly discussed the issues with Dn8:14 etc., it seemed as though he had verbalised the quandaries that were milling around my mind at that time.  “At last,” I thought, “there is going to be some openness and free discussion of these issues.”  Was I mistaken!!!